Leicester appears in the Domesday Book as "Ledecestre". Leicester’s population make it the tenth most populous area
in the UK and the largest city in the East of England.
The industrial revolution cased a rapid unplanned
urbanisation in Leicester which up to that point had remained a market town. A
newly constructed rail and canal network routed through Leicester stimulated
industrial growth in the 19th century with shoemaking, hosiery production and
engineering developing to turn Leicester into a major economic centre. The
success of these businesses caused the urban area of Leicester to expand into
the surrounding countryside and this expansion resulted in the boundaries of Leicester
extending several times, with the town becoming a county borough in 1889 and
achieving city status in 1919.
Leicester is placed close to the M1 motorway on the Midland
Main Rail Line. The University of Leicester and De Montford University are both
located in Leicester, making the city an important centre for higher education.
Leicester market sells vegetables, fruit, meat and fresh
fish and is the largest outdoor marketplace in Europe. Every year during the
summer Leicester City Council holds cultural festivals with Leicester Mela
being held in the market area in 2009. In 2011 a new area called "Market
Corner" was opened with various different food and drink on offer on
Fridays and Saturdays.
Leicester has thirteen Grade 1 listed buildings and ten
Leicester is close to the M1 motorway at Junction 21 and
this section is considered to be the busiest part in the country. Leicester is
also near the start of the M69 motorway which runs to the M6 motorway.
Leicester holds many significant festivals and celebrations.
The city holds a Caribbean Carnival which is the largest in the UK outside of
London. The Pride Parade, also called Leicester Pride, is held annually as is
the largest comedy festival in the UK, Leicester Comedy Festival. Leicester
holds the International Short Film Festival, an event that humbly started as
'Seconds Out' in 1996 and is now one of the United Kingdom’s most important
film festivals. It usually runs in early November, with venues including the
Phoenix Arts Centre.
Leicester has a number of professional and semi-professional
sports teams, including Leicester City football club, Leicester County Cricket
Club, Leicester Coritanian Athletics Club. Welford Road is home to the
Leicester Tigers, one of the most successful rugby union teams in Europe.
Other sports clubs include: Leicester Penguins Swimming Club
who were awarded Sports Club of the Year by the Leicester Mercury at their
annual sports awards in both 2007 and 2008. Other Sports clubs include
Leicester Neptune Swimming Club and Braunstone Swimming Club. Located in the
south of the city in Oadby is Leicester Racecourse. After a period of success
for the football, cricket and rugby teams around the turn of the millennium,
Leicester was for some time dubbed (by the local press and local inhabitants at
least) the sporting capital of the UK, and a statue commemorating this period was
erected in the town centre.